France's de Villepin warns against 'conscience-clearing' Syria strikes
France's former foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, famed for his passionate 2003 speech at the UN opposing the invasion of Iraq, warned Wednesday against military action in Syria.
"I do not believe that a military quick-fix can be the appropriate solution to complex crises," de Villepin, also a former prime minister and now a private consultant with close ties to Qatar, told the BFMTV news channel.
"What sense is there in European- or Western-led action if it is conducted outside of the remit of international law, even without any efficiency rationale and only with the aim of assuaging our bad conscience," he said.
"Will a targeted, limited strike improve the fate of the population in Syria? No," he said. "On the contrary, military action will delay any political, diplomatic settlement."
France has, with the United States and Britain, been spearheading calls for military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over alleged chemical attacks that took place a week ago.
Western powers have made it clear that any strike would be limited in scope, aimed only at punishing the regime and not at toppling Assad nor in any way likely to change the course of the conflict.
© 2013 AFP